The Kings Centre, Bootle, is one of the latest projects to be supported through the Transforming Places through Heritage Programme (TPtH). The Grade II-listed former school board office, dates back to the late 19th century and is located within a cluster of other civic buildings, including the former library, court and public baths. Empty since 2009, the building is now one step closer to securing its future, as the Venus Charity (Venus) has been awarded a development grant to help progress their plans to take on the building and create a new permanent base for the organisation.
Venus offers emotional and practical support for women, children and families in the local community, including counselling and activities, and has seen a significant increase in demand for its services over recent years. A move to the Kings Centre will enable the charity to expand its core work and deliver new services, including the creation of a community kitchen and hearth space for communal eating.
The grant has been matched with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Arts Council England, resulting in a fully funded development phase, which will allow Venus to develop the project to the point where they can submit an application to NLHF for capital works.
The project is one of nine high street and town centre projects supported at the latest Grants Panel through the TPtH programme, a three-and-a-half-year programme working to support charities and social enterprises restore and bring new uses to historic high street buildings. Funded by a £15 million grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the programme exists within a wider set of interventions aiming to revive high streets in England, including High Street Heritage Action Zones, being led by Historic England, and the Future High Streets Fund, administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund commented:
“We’re delighted to be supporting a new raft of social enterprises and charities to transform historic buildings in town and city centres across England. This includes the Venus Charity’s plans to acquire and restore a prominent building in the centre of Bootle, which will enable them to expand their services and contribute to the regeneration of the wider area. We’re grateful to DCMS for their ongoing support to the Transforming Places through Heritage programme.’
The full list of development grants awarded at the Grants Panel is:
Hebden Bridge Community Association – The Town Hall, Hebden Bridge: £30,812
Kidderminster Town Council – Kidderminster Town Hall, Kidderminster: £47,250
Milton Keynes Christian Foundation – Stratford Road, Wolverton: £31,000
New Writing North – Blundell’s Department Store, Newcastle: £79,600
Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust – Becket’s Chapel, Wymondham: £37,906
Ramsgate Town Council – Radford House (The Old Fire Station), Ramsgate: £52,470
St Saviours CIC – St Saviours Hall, Plymouth: £27,000
The Venus Charity – Kings Centre, Bootle: £39,840
Victoria Centre Blackburn Ltd – Victoria Centre, Blackburn: £48,572